For Hackers, There’s A Tempting New Target: Your Car
Outside the living room, automobiles have become the epicenter of multimedia activity for consumers. From Cadillac to Audi, all the major automotive players are getting in the game, offering movies on integrated LCD screens, enabling passengers to surf the Web or simply allowing access to an address book on the car’s head unit. A recent study by In-Stat forecasts that more than 35 million in-vehicle infotainment systems are expected to ship in 2015.
With all the hype around these innovations, however, one extremely important topic - security - is consistently overlooked.
While car manufacturers tout heightened safety capabilities made possible via Wi-Fi, such as emergency calls automatically placed as the airbags deploy, carmakers fail to mention increased security risks that go along with wireless access to automotive systems. While cables serve as secure communications links to critical systems, wireless connections are susceptible to hackers, which opens the door to myriad potential problems. To manufacture cars that meet strict security requirements, automotive companies must deliver in-vehicle wireless security on par with that offered by wired systems.
As the popularity of wireless offerings in cars continues to grow, it will be imperative that consumers arm themselves with basic knowledge about these security concerns. To make it easy, here are three questions consumers should ask while shopping for a Wi-Fi enabled car (and three answers they should hear) to ensure secure connectivity.